This series of articles about credit cards, points and miles, and budgeting for travel is brought to you in partnership with The Points Guy.

Advertiser Disclosure: This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. This relationship may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. All information about the Hilton Honors Aspire Card, Citi Premier® Card, the World of Hyatt Credit Card, the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card, and American Express® Green Card* have been collected independently by Lonely Planet. These cards are not available through Lonely Planet. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

According to the UN World Tourism Organization, Greece was the ninth most visited country in the world last year. It’s easy to understand why: With its rich history, world-famous cuisine and picturesque islands, Greece offers the perfect destination for both adventure travelers and those looking to immerse themselves in the land of myths and legends. Of course, traveling to Greece can be expensive between the cost of airfare and hotels. If you’re hopping through the Greek islands, the cost of ferries adds another expense that could put a dent in your travel budget

Savvy travelers manage to make it all more affordable by strategically using points and miles. We’ll show you how to transform your travel aspirations into a reality, all while making the most of your hard-earned rewards. If you’re new to points and miles, here’s everything you need to know about using points and miles to save money on travel to Greece.

How to travel to Italy with points and miles

The bustling dining scene at Taverna Nikos in Mykonos
The bustling dining scene at Taverna Nikos in Mykonos © Ted Horowitz Photography / Getty

The cheapest award flights to Greece

When it comes to booking a flight to Greece, these accrued miles and points can often be redeemed for substantial discounts or even entirely free tickets. By strategically using your points or miles, you can slash the cost of airfare, making flights to Greece much more affordable. Moreover, many airline alliances and partners allow you to leverage your points for a wider selection of flights and routes, providing flexibility in your travel plans and opening up opportunities for additional savings. 

These loyalty programs serve as a secret weapon in the arsenal of budget-conscious travelers, enabling them to explore the enchanting landscapes and history of Greece without breaking the bank. Here’s a look at some of the cheapest award flights to Greece and how to earn the required miles:

  • Cheapest economy class ticket to Greece: From 30,000 Flying Blue miles round-trip.
  • Cheapest business class ticket to Greece: 88,000 ANA miles round-trip.
  • Cheapest first-class ticket to Greece: 135,000 Turkish miles round-trip.

How to travel to the Seychelles with points and miles

Air France-KLM Flying Blue

Air France and KLM’s joint Flying Blue program has some of the cheapest economy-class flights to Europe. Off-peak flights between New York (JFK) and Athens price out at just 30,000 miles round-trip – that’s about half of what most airlines charge for award flights to Europe. If you’re departing from the West Coast, a flight to Athens will set you back 40,000 miles in economy class.

Thanks to Promo Rewards, Flying Blue members can save 50% or more on select routes, which can help you save even more miles. 

  • Economy class: From 30,000 miles round-trip.
  • Premium economy class: From 60,000 miles round-trip.
  • Business class: From 113,000 miles round-trip.

Flying Blue is a 1:1 transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One Venture, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou points. Sometimes, these programs offer bonus points on Flying Blue transfers, so you can redeem even fewer miles on your trip to Greece.

  • Capital One Venture X Business: Earn 150,000 miles once you spend $30,000 in the first three months from account opening.
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express*: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $20,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card: Earn 120,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 cash back or $1,500 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Travel℠.
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express*: Earn 80,000 points after spending $8,000 in the first six months of card membership.
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
  • Capital One Venture X Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
  • American Express® Business Gold Card*: Earn 70,000 points after spending $10,000 within the first three months of card membership.
  • American Express® Gold Card*: Earn 60,000 points after spending $6,000 within the first six months of card membership.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • Citi Premier® Card: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.
  • American Express® Green Card: Earn 40,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first six months of card membership.

Best credit cards for airport lounge access

All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club

All Nippon Airways is a Japan-based Star Alliance carrier that offers some of the cheapest business-class fares to Europe, including Greece. You’ll need just 88,000 miles round-trip for a business class ticket to Athens, which is about half of what programs like United Mileage Plus charge for the same award. ANA is also one of the few airlines still publishing an award chart, with low, regular and high season pricing. Here are some of the cheapest fares to Greece:

  • Economy class: 55,000 ANA miles round-trip.
  • Business class: 88,000 ANA miles round-trip.
  • First class: 165,000 ANA miles round-trip.

ANA Mileage Plan is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner. You can convert your points to ANA miles at a 1:1 ratio, though transfers often take a few days. You can cover at least one round-trip ticket to Greece with an Amex credit card welcome bonus. Just keep in mind that Amex enforces a once-per-lifetime rule on credit card welcome bonuses, meaning if you’ve received a bonus for one of these cards in the past, you likely won’t receive it again:

TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry: A guide to picking the best one for you

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles offers some of the cheapest Star Alliance flights to Greece. While economy and business class awards are slightly higher than what ANA Mileaeg Club charges, first-class flights are some of the cheapest at just 135,000 Turkish miles round-trip.

  • Economy class: 60,000 Turkish miles round-trip.
  • Business class: 90,000 Turkish miles round-trip.
  • First class: 135,000 Turkish miles round-trip.

Turkish Miles&Smiles has more transfer partners than ANA Mileage Club, making it easier to accrue miles. Turkish is a  1:1 transfer of Bilt Rewards, Capital One Miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards. 

  • Capital One Venture X Business: Earn 150,000 miles once you spend $30,000 in the first three months from account opening.
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
  • Capital One Venture X Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
  • Citi Premier® Card: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.

How to get major perks at global events and concerts with your credit card

Greece hotels you can book with points

The cost of hotel accommodations in Greece can be pretty high, especially during peak summer months. In popular, somewhat remote tourist destinations like Santorini, rates at luxury hotels can easily climb to $1,000 per night or more. The good news is that every major hotel chain has properties throughout Greece that you can book with points. With a co-branded hotel credit card, you can accrue enough points for several free nights and get valuable elite status perks for extra savings. 

Using a condensed version of Lonely Planet’s suggested Greece itinerary, we’ve put together a four-stop Mediterranean adventure, including hotel suggestions: 

10 amazing hotels around the world you can book with points

The Parthenon in Athens, Greece
The Parthenon in Athens, Greece © Lucian Milasan / Shutterstock

Stop 1: Athens

The Hotel Grande Bretagne is the epitome of luxury and convenience, making it the ideal choice for a memorable stay in the heart of the Greek capital. Located in the historic Syntagma Square, this iconic hotel is within walking distance of world-class shopping and ancient historical sights like the Acropolis, the National Archeological Museum and the Plaka district. Rates at this Marriott property start at 50,000 points per night and go well over 80,000 during peak travel season. 

10 incredible branded hotels that have boutique hotel vibes

The sunrises on Mykonos
The sunrises on Mykonos © MartinM303 / Getty

Stop 2: Mykonos

Mykonos offers the perfect blend of stunning beaches, picturesque architecture and vibrant nightlife. This island boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the Aegean Sea, making it a haven for sun-seekers and water sports enthusiasts. Hyatt has multiple properties you can book with points. A free night at the Category 6 Archipelagos Hotel goes for 21,000-29,000 points per night for a Premium Sea View room. You can transfer Bilt or Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt or cover up to three free nights from The World of Hyatt Credit Card welcome bonus.

The best credit cards with no international fees in 2023

The stunning houses of Santorini, Greece
The stunning houses of Santorini, Greece © Ihor_Tailwind / Getty

Stop 3: Santorini

With its breathtaking landscape and distinctive charm, Santorini is a must-visit for any trip to Greece. Santorini is a 2-hour ferry ride from Mykonos, making this iconic destination easy and convenient to visit. If you’ve always wanted to stay in a white-washed building with dramatic cliffside views without breaking the bank, World of Hyatt points (accrued with the World of Hyatt Credit Card and World of Hyatt Business Credit Card) are a great option. The Category 8 Canaves Oia Suites can be booked for 35,000-45,000 points per night. At this rate, you can pick between a Junior Suite or a Superior Suite, both featuring a private plunge pool and stunning caldera views.

Best credit cards for traveling with kids

Hiking Samaria National Park in Crete, Greece
Hiking Samaria National Park in Crete, Greece © David C Tomlinson / Getty

Stop 4: Crete

As the largest Greek island, Crete offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff looking to explore the ancient ruins of Gortyna or a nature lover seeking beautiful hikes in Samaria Gorge, Crete’s diverse landscape and rich history caters to every type of traveler. Crete is also very affordable with points. You can book a Deluxe room with sea views at Hilton’s Royal Senses Resort & Spa Crete for around 58,000 points per night. With the Hilton Honors Aspire Card’s current welcome bonus, you can cover up to three free nights at this hotel. The card comes with automatic Diamond status, meaning you’ll qualify for the fifth night free on award bookings. 

Best credit cards for road trips

Activities and ground transportation

Transportation between the mainland and different Greek isles can add up substantially. Ferry rides alone can cost $70 - 140 each way. You can offset these expenses by charging them to the Capital One Venture Rewards or Capital One Venture X, and then redeeming miles at one cent each. This should work as long as those expenses get coded as travel purchases by Capital One.

You might even be able to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards for activities and ferries. The Chase Travel℠ portal allows cardholders to redeem points towards travel, tours and activities. Points are worth 1.25 cents each for Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders and 1.5 cents for those with a Chase Sapphire Reserve

Should you book travel with cash or points?

Bottom line

Traveling to Greece doesn’t have to be absurdly expensive and you don’t have to compromise the length or quality of your trip just to stay within your budget. By strategically using travel credit card rewards, you can save on your flights and stay at some of the best hotels in Santorini, Athens and beyond. While many of these credit cards carry annual fees, they’re small compared to the amount of money you’ll save on your travel expenses. Better yet, many of these credit cards waive foreign transaction fees, helping you save around 3% on expenses incurred abroad. 

Using points and miles for airfare to Greece can be a game-changer for travelers seeking an affordable trip to Greece. In a world where the cost of international travel can be steep, loyalty programs and miles redemption options present an opportunity to unlock the beauty of Greece at a fraction of the typical price. 

How to travel to the Seychelles with points and miles

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

This article was first published Nov 10, 2023 and updated Jan 29, 2024.

Explore related stories

A colorful narrow alley of Ano Syros cycladic greek island
1033233816
siros, ermoupoli, hermoupoli, vintage, cyclades, aegean, touristic, vacation, summer holidays, destination, greek island, sightseeing, architectural, iconic, attraction, local, street view, urban, traditional, colorful, outdoor, unique, culture, popular, street photography, picturesque, ano syros, traditional houses, neighborhood, nobody, paved, boukamvillia, pink

Beaches

A first-time guide to Syros, Greece

Jul 9, 2024 • 7 min read